ALAN Pardew labelled Newcastle United’s final game of the season “crazy” – then insisted it underlined the need for “quality” summer signings.
Pardew’s depleted side threw away a three-goal lead against West Bromwich Albion to draw 3-3 at St James’s Park yesterday.
And the defensive errors which gifted Somen Tchoyi his hat-trick cost the club a top-10 finish in the Premier League, with Newcastle ending their first season back in the Premier League in 12th place.
While Pardew felt Tchoyi’s second goal was offside, he conceded United were the architects of their own downfall.
“It was crazy – what can you say?” Pardew said. “We were 3-0 up, and it looks comfortable, but we gifted them a goal.
“The second goal was offside, and we can moan about this and that, but we stopped playing and switched off. Unfortunately, at this level you can’t do that.
“We got a 3-0 lead without really deserving it, if I’m honest. At 3-0 we two across the box, and had one been tapped in, it would have been 4-0.
“It was that sort of afternoon – it was frustrating. A lack of focus at this level creates games like that. In some ways it reflected on our season. We’ve been absolutely brilliant, and then not so good. Sometimes worse than that.”
Pardew will now turn his attention to strengthening his team, which was decimated by injuries in the latter stages of the season.
There could be a breakthrough in the next fortnight, but Pardew is still expecting a long summer fo dealings, with the club also needing to secure the futures of a number of its present squad.
“I think it’s important we bring in quality players,” Pardew went on. “We missed a lot of players – there’s no way we’d have lost that lead with Cheik Tiote and Kevin Nolan.
“We need more quality players that can come in and make sure we win more games next year.”
The Magpies were within seconds of ending their first campaign back in the Barclays Premier League in ninth place when West Brom midfielder Somen Tchoyi completed a hat-trick and an unlikely comeback by the Baggies.
Newcastle raced into a 3-0 lead with just 47 minutes gone when Steven Taylor – with his third goal in as many games – Peter Lovenkrands and Jonas Olsson’s own goal appeared to have secured the points.
However, West Brom’s response was concerted and when Tchoyi struck after 62 and then 72 minutes, the fightback was on.
The finishing touch came in the final minute of the game when Tchoyi dived to get his head to Olsson’s cross and snatch a point.
West Brom boss Roy Hodgson was understandably delighted with the point, which meant his team finished a place ahead of Newcastle, whom they followed out of the Coca-Cola Championship 12 months ago.
He said: “It’s good, we more than matched Newcastle – 50,000 people every week, a football-crazy city.
“We have to share the football craziness with two other big clubs. Here really, it’s a footballing monopoly for Newcastle United.
“One was surprised they were relegated, not surprised when they bounced straight back up and I think everybody would have been surprised this year had they gone down, quite frankly.
“They would have been less surprised if West Bromwich Albion had gone down, so the club, the players, the staff and in particular the fans, they deserve a really big pat on the back for lifting us out of the mire and even up to a quite elevated position.
“If our goal difference had been even half-reasonable, we would have finished in the top half of the table.”
Newcastle: Krul, Simpson, Coloccini, Steven Taylor, Jose Enrique, Ryan Taylor, Barton, Guthrie (Best 73), Ferguson (LuaLua 64), Lovenkrands (Smith 70), Shola Ameobi. Subs Not Used: Soderberg, Ranger, Tavernier, Kuqi. Goals: Steven Taylor 16, Lovenkrands 39, Olsson 47 og.
West Brom: Carson, Reid, Meite (Pablo 46), Olsson, Shorey, Brunt, Mulumbu, Scharner (Thorne 60), Tchoyi, Morrison, Fortune (Miller 73). Subs Not Used: Myhill, Thomas, Cox, Jara. Goals: Tchoyi 62, 71, 90.
Att: 51,678 Ref: Mark Halsey (Lancashire).